20 YEARS AGO: Bischoff takes digs at “poor little Vince McMahon,” the “dismal failure” of Jim Ross WCW track record, and Cornette who “industry has passed by”

By Wade Keller, PWTorch editor

Eric Bischoff set to return to the ring
Eric Bischoff (art credit Travis Beaven © PWTorch)

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

The following is an excerpt of Eric Bischoff’s chat on the Prodigy online service, originally republished in the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter #471 (cover-dated Dec. 20, 1997), including some comments on Nitro’s success, Jim Ross, and Tag Team Wrestling.

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•Regarding the tag team division: “I’m not a big fan of the tag team division. There’s just not enough well established tag combinations out there to provide a competitive arena at this point. Certainly the Steiner Brothers are at the top of the list of tag teams anywhere in the world. Harlem Heat is also an incredibly effective combination. Unfortunately, with the amount of programming we have to produce, I’m not sure keeping the tag division intact as we know it is the best thing to do for our business, or the people involved. I’m not sure, quite frankly, what I will do with the tag team division, whether to abandon it, or to shore it up with talent from around the world.”

•Regarding Jim Ross and Jim Cornette’s recent comments about him: “I’ve worked with Jim Ross. Jim Ross worked with WCW for a long time in a senior management position, very similar to the one he has now, and he was responsible in part for some of the largest and most embarrassing losses this division has had to endure. I’m sure that it’s hard for him to deal honestly with the fact that his track record here at WCW from a business point of view can only be considered a dismal failure, and that after he departed this company began to grow and prosper. I’m not suggesting that Jim Ross is solely responsible, but he was by his own admission, an integral part of senior management here at that time. I know first hand that many of the creative decisions made here were made by Jim Ross. As far as Jim Cornette is concerned, I think the industry has passed him by. I think he’s a small fish in a little pond that is quickly becoming a shot glass. I hope he has a long and successful relationship with the WWF.”

•On whether he is surprised by Nitro’s success: “I can’t honestly say I expected to average 4.0s the way we have been. I really did believe we could average in the mid- to high-3’s. Clearly, now the question is how high is up, because I still think there is room to grow. One thing I think needs to be pointed out when you talk about the success is that it has not come at the expense of the WWF. This is a very important point. I would venture to say that the WWF prior to the launch of Nitro, that their arena attendance is higher now than it was two years ago. This is an important point when you look at the kind of public spin that poor little Vince McMahon is pursuing while trying to position himself as the little independent businessman being beat up upon by big, bad WCW.”


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AND CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS FLASHBACK: 15 YRS AGO – Paul Heyman Interview Summary: Thoughts on Bischoff, Austin walking out on proposed match with Lesnar, The Rock’s status with fans, Jericho, Bret, Cornette

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